Just about

cupid 1What did the good Pharrel Williams say ?”Clap along if you know what happiness is to you“, well I guess he has done a lot clapping this year considering the immense success of his worldwide hit ” Happy“, however, do you know what happiness is to you, or better when? Metaphorically speaking when is the most intense moment of bliss: when you cross the finish line or the moment just before, when you are overwhelmed by that powerful combination of excitement and pain, in short, when you are “just about”?

cupid 3Just about” would have been Keats‘s prompt answer. In his “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, the poet is charmed by ” the leaf fringed legend ” that “haunts” the shape of an urn and focuses on the images which are depicted on its frieze . He is attracted by one scene in particular: there is a “bold lover” who is “winning near his goal “, that is, a beautiful young girl. He is just about to reach her, but unfortunately he is destined to live that frustrating condition forever, as art has stopped that moment and made it eternal.

That moment does not mean grief for the poet, but quite the contrary, for him it is the highest moment of happiness man can experience . The young boy’s love will be “for ever warm” as it is “still to be enjoyed“, and he will be ” for ever panting” for a girl whose youth and beauty will never fade away. Unfortunately time cannot be stopped, as once you eventually achieve your goal, your feelings are so overwhelming to devour that moment of bliss to leave you with “a heart high sorrowful and cloy’d, a burning forehead, and a parching tongue” looking at the ashes of what now is past.

cupid 2Canova ‘s “just about” can be admired in his magnificent statue of ” Cupid and Psyche“. “Cupid and Psyche” is a tale written by Apuleius a Latin-language prose writer. It narrates about the adventures of a young girl Psyche, who is uncommonly beautiful. Cupid, the son of Venus, desperately falls in love with Psyche and carries her to an enchanted, magnificent palace where they can secretly consume their passion, but he prohibits her to know his identity. The happiness of the young couple is threatened both by the envy of Psyche’s sisters, and by the hostility of Venus, who wouldn’t want her son to marry a mortal, whose beauty could be compared to her own, a goddess. Psyche follows the perfidious suggestions of her sisters thus disobeying Cupid, who consequently abandons her. She desperately seeks her lover, but she falls into the hands of her mother-in-law, Venus, who forces her to undergo insurmountable trials, which eventually she passes thanks to a series of extraordinary helps. A happy end follows: Jove himself will celebrate the wedding between Cupid and Psyche and will turn her into a goddess, making her immortal.

Canova represented in his statue the instant of the story, when he imagined intensity was at its pitch, that is when Cupid is “just about” to kiss Psyche. There is a slight, refined eroticism, while Cupid tenderly contemplates the face of the girl he loves, while Psyche reciprocates him with equal warmth and sweetness. You can feel that tension, before it bursts into passion. Psyche’s arms form a circle around the faces of the two lovers, which seems to frame the focal point of the statue. It’s inside that circle that the emotional tension swells and Cupid’s endless craving is close to be satisfied.He is just about.

However, experiencing that tension forever is impossible for both mortals or deities, only art can fix that moment. What comes next, then? Well, Cupid and Psyche had soon a beautiful daughter whose name was Voluptas, that is Pleasure. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

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121 thoughts on “Just about

  1. Every time we are “just about” to make something special and important we feel adrenaline running into our veins and in that moment we are infinite and the happiest person in the world…it is not a case that the attend of pleasure is it self the pleasure, as many said.
    I agree with your opinion that art is one of the perfect way to impress this “just about” feeling forever but I think that are many other ways to do it, like music for example, how many times we hear a song and then we start overthinking, with the help of our imagination, of something than us? Or the most simple way to catch this feeling, I think, is dreaming.
    Every time we make a dream, a happy and lovely dream, we would this lasts forever because of its kind of perfection, and because we could feel this pleasure that we will not fell in our real life, but this is a just about moment and in fact many times we woke up, ore woken up by someone, and all this feelings fly away and we can’t remember it so I think that we made an eternal run to reach this magical feeling in every possible way.

  2. According to Winckelmann, a neoclassical artist (like Canova) must represent the moment which follows an action or the one that precedes it, that is the “just about” moment. It is a combination of excitement and pain that could sometimes be the highest moment of happiness a man can experience but, I think, it could also be a moment of great tension and anxiety. For example in the David’s painting “Giuramento degli Orazi”, the artist chooses to show the supreme moment of the solemn oath, when the tree brothers are going to pronounce the words: “Rome or Death”.
    In my opinion it was not a very happy moment for them all and for their parents too. Certainly they could be all enthusiastic and full of adrenaline in their veins but, I would dare say, not very happy…actually they were going to fight a mortal duel against the Curiazi brothers! I know in ancient Rome they used to solve problems in these ways and they used to fight with swords since they were just children, however the Orazi brothers were going to die! And normally, nobody is at his highest moment of happiness when he is just about…to die.

  3. I may sound out of contest when I say that I, personally, prefer the “right after” than the “just about”.
    I perfectly know the anxiety or the excitment of something that is about to happen but, for me, the moment right after is just better. The instant feeling of satisfaction, that you expirience when you have just finished an exam or when you have spent a beatiful evening with your friends, is undiscrivable.
    Maybe is due to my incredible laziness, but when I finish something I feel an incredible plesure. The simple act of remembering itself brings me so much joy, that I would rather be always “right after” than “just about”!

  4. I think that the perception of the moment “just about” is innate in man, and only thanks to artists like keats we can realize its apparent existence. Every man lives in the constant research to satisfy their own desires, which besiege without stopping, creating a sense of emptiness and frustration in everyone who can not be satiated with pleasure. The pleasure I’m talking about is then tasted briefly, during the moment that precedes the act desired, which is why I think it’s important to be able to fully grasp it, because grasp the “just about” is the only way to enjoy part of our desires.

  5. In my opinion I prefer to live  intensely every single moment of my life. You should live happily, thinking about life as a stream of “just about”. After a good moment another one will come  better than the previous. In your mind  a wonderful memory and hope for a new amazing experience will remain. I totally agree with  Keats’ teory of time but I don’t agree with his sadness after the sublime. He should have been eager to live another moment like that. Think less and enjoy your life!

  6. Many people think that happiness is in the excitement of a new experience, in a new love, in doing something incredible but i think that in those moments you are only near to happiness. The real happiness is in our way to see the things, in other words, happiness come when you feel satisfied and realized or when life is just as it should be.

    • “Just about” … It is the feeling that all men research, the triumph of great feelings. But I DO not agree with Keats and Canova, even if you do not consider my opinion romantic like theirs . Surely the waiting of pleasure is the way to improve the pleasure itself, but the sentence “the waiting of pleasure is the pleasure itself” is a big bullshit, for me. I am an impatient man and I like to satisfy my desire. However I have to say that arriving at the summit of a mountain is more beautiful if I have walked for hours. The moment before the goal you think, you feel many powerful emotions and imagine the purpose of your actions but it is not as beautiful as the goal itself.To answer to Keats… I like more kissing my girlfriend THAN watching her.

  7. I do not agree with Keats’s and Canova’s points of views .Well,the “Just about” is the outbreak of passion and great experiences,but it is not absolutely the same thing as the goal itself.Every person on the earth lives constantly trying to satisfy their own desires surrounded by strong sensations,and in my opinion nothing is better than fullfil them.Finally,as Pharrel Williams says in his hit,I can surely state that happiness is when you reach your targets.

  8. This is true: the moment that precedes what we want to achieve,the “just about”,rouses a great desire and a lot of intense emotions in us. In my opinion, when this moment is passed, everything subsides. But it is not right to be content,especially in love matters. We have to inflame again that desire,and,for example, it is possible leaving a touch of curiosity and mistery in the eyes of who looks at us.

  9. I do not agree with Keats and Canova, even if the “just about” is the time in which you feel many emotions is not the time with greater pleasure.
    Giving a simple example like thirst on a hot day, the moment before drinking you can only imagine how you will be happy drinking but do not have a real pleasure.
    So I am of the opinion that the real pleasure is when you reach the target, and not before.

  10. I really enjoyed this post.
    Man’s mind is complicated. We spend a lot of time desiring something but, when we obtain it, we feel a sense of void and we start desiring something else. We can say that man’s life is based on desiring.
    This probably happens because we always want to feel powerful emotions, that sense of excitement and adrenaline. We want to feel ourselves alive. I totally agree with Keats because I think that these strong emotions can be originated only by a “just about” moment. That moment during which you are just about to reach your goal. All the time spent in that desire, all the pains and the sacrifices suddenly make sense and you feel overwhelmed by a magic sensation.
    Personally I love this moment. I really feel myself alive, surrounded by a powerful emotion and a magic happiness, which will be eventually lost after the achievement of my goal. I would like to feel constantly that emotion but I know it is impossible. In fact, even when I remember that moment of high happiness, I cannot feel that moment again, I can only smile with a strong feeling of nostalgia inside me, looking at what now is finished.

  11. To agree or disagree with Keats and Canova is defenitly very personal. Although I particularly like Tommaso’s example of thirst on a hot day I have to disagree with him, because in my opinion just before you are about to dink your ice cold drink you feel the most satisfied. On the other hand applying this concept in love matters is a different story. Personally I think the just after gives me a biggest satisfaction as I have reached my goal and feel a sensation of accomplishment.

  12. In my opinion Canova and Williams are both right.
    There are two different kind of happiness, one which is given by material things,
    and one given by feelings. The first one is intenser right after the achievement of your goal, we you can finally say ” I made it”. The second one, instead, find its happiness in all the time that procedes the act.
    Even tho in my case, this feeling comes after the accomplishment of my objective, because most of the time failure and disappointment arrive when you start thinking you did it.

  13. For me , the “just about “ is the real meaning of happiness, because when we are just about to do something, we were swamped by a strange sensation which makes your action unbelievable.I completely agree that art is the best way to show the “just about “, but there are a lot of another ways to impress this, for example music or football.For me , in football,the best moment in a match is when the ball is going into the soccer net not when we are exulting ,because, during a little moment, we are only thinking about the ball , we are overthinking, we are worried, we are excited and ,after this short moment, everything ends as if nothing had happened .
    In conclusion, I wish that the “just about “ would last for ever because thanks to it , anything could be special.

  14. For me the just about is an important way to understand happiness. Infact it is a moment where you can feel the best emotion. I think that art shows very well the just about, but you feel it only doing something you like; in my case listening music which gives you lot of adrenaline or doing a race.

  15. I agree with Lessing when he says” The wait of pleasure is the pleasure itself “ ,in fact, I think that looking forward to things is half of the pleasure in them.
    Making a general picture of life is almost a wait .For example
    I am excited that next year I will finally be 18. I’m looking forward to graduation next year .I’m looking forward to seeing the new episode of my favourite tv series tomorrow .
    Having all these things to look forward to is what keeps people motivated .
    Thus I believe that happiness is therefore based on waiting for something great to happen and the possibility of sharing it with people we love.

  16. I think that the best moment to understand the “just about” is, for example, when the ball was in the air in the Florenzi’s shoot in Roma-Barcellona, when you still do not know if it will enter or go out the goal. Here is the “just about”, a mixed moment of anxiety and great emotions of happiness. And the best way to represent it is in art

  17. Just about is the most intense moment of bliss, it’s true. When you reach the destination, the magic disappears and everything becomes almost obvious.
    I think art should capture that moment, like Canova’s statue “Cupid and Psyche”. So, the artist makes people thrill.

  18. “Just about” is surely a sublime moment, when all your efforts and/or hopes are involved, when “alea iacta est” and you are overhelmed by emotionts. But regardless this I think the strongest moment is the following one: the istant when you realize you did it, when all those emotionts, efforts and hopes are satisfied and turn in pure happiness. Of course, it’ s a double-edged blade if things goes worng, but still I find it the most powerful, for better or for worse.

  19. In my opinion, the most exciting moment when we have to do something is not when we are doing the action but when we are ”just about” to make it.
    That little moment is wonderful because we can not know if the action is good or not, unforgettable or not, but there is only the adrenaline which make us excite when we are near the action, without thinking how the action will be.

  20. I agree with Keats and Canova ONLY IF WE TALK ABOUT LOVE. In my opinion the strongest emotions are caused by desire, desire gives us adrenaline and strong emotions, desire make us crazy and it makes us memorable crazy things. But when the desire ends, regarding that our splendid and insane condition remains only the memory of the follies made, and when the desire ends the passion ends too, and then the pleasure ends. Oscar Wilde said: “A cigarette is the perfect prototype of perfect pleasure. It is exquisite and leaves unsatisfied”. The achievement of pleasure is pleasure itself, and when we finally reach the pleasure we enjoy it for a while, because now the pleasure is ours, that person is ours, and by nature no man wants what he already has.
    Is it the satisfaction that in the long run kills the passion? Maybe yes, but I keep looking for this, I keep looking for a love that is like a cigarette.

  21. In the Ode on a Grecian Urn Keats describes a young man who is just about to kiss a young girl. He can never kiss her but for Keats this is not a moment of unhappiness but the highest moment of happiness because they will always remain young and keep the feeling of love. But also because they will always stay in a moment of bliss, waiting for the kiss. I think it’s true that when you are waiting for something, for example going on holiday, you are happy for a long time but when the moment arrives you are happy only for a short time.

  22. The just about moment si an exciting moment because you don’t know what is about to happen. This moment seems to be endless, because it is strong and you can feel powerful emotions. However I think the strongest moment is the effettive one, because you can see your results and you can understand if you reached your goal. In fact the awareness of having reached your goal is more exiciting than the waiting.

  23. In my opinion, “Just about” is not the most exciting moment in our life, but the most beautiful moment is when we complete an exciting action. For example in a final of a football competition the sublime moment is when match ends and not before, because you have not certainty of the victory. So,in our life, we must complete what we like and search new incentives to be completed.

  24. Canova follows the art rules of Winckelmann, a neoclassicism artist. The latter says that art should never convey intense passions because soul totally shows only when the body is peaceful; so the artist should always choose the following, or previous, moment of a passionate action. But the moment in which you are “just about”, is the one of most desire and happiness?
    In the “just about” moment, time slows down and you can entirely feel the powerful emotions that are overwhelming you, which are a mist of a strong desire but also tension and anxiety. While the moment “right after” is fully dominated by happiness, joy, and satisfaction because you have finally gotten what you extremely wanted; but this moment doesn’t last long and as soon as the “right after” feelings disappear you will look for something else to achieve. So these two moments have both involved powerful emotions, but in the “just about” moment you have all your hopes and goals intact and you have a high expectation about what is going to happen, which rarely coincides with reality, so you feel excited, optimist and hopefull, for this reason, I prefer this moment.

  25. Happiness is such a difficult state to reach, and it is something so ephemeral that lasts few seconds. For this reason, many people think that to await a pleasure (which is always longer) is itself a pleasure, but I don’t agree, because it can be really uncertain until we achieve our goal. I prefer that short moment when you are happy and you do not think about your problems or your duties, that moment when you cannot ask anything else to your life because it seems you are living inside a bucolic dimension, which is something indescribable, until that particular and extraordinary feeling vanishes, and your mind goes back to everyday life. But we should not desperate: luckily, we are able to feel that powerful emotion again and again; this is life, a continuos swing between happiness and sadness, and both are necessary in life to shape our personality.

  26. Neoclassic artists used to represent the moment exactly before the ardent emotional action, for example Canova represented the moment when Cupid is “just about” to kiss Psyche,neither during nor after.
    The “just about” is the most beautiful and exciting moment.
    After you have done the desired action, you will have to go looking for another ,if you want to enjoy again the moment that precedes everything.
    Even the action itself is beautiful, but I think there is no better time when you are “just about” to do… and wish for that thing, as stuck in time.

  27. I think that the true beauty of everything is in the concept of sublime. For me, a sublime moment is “just about” because it is the moment before doing an action that you don’t know the consequences until you complete it. What drives us to do things we don’t know about the consequences is made thanks to the “mystery”, you are unaware of the consequences and you the adrenaline inside. The “just about” moment is all a game of feelings and emotions, and this is the beauty.

  28. I think this is a very delicate and difficult subject to deal with but unfortunately I agree with Keats and Canova.
    The happiness, the tension, the thoughtless and the desire that are felt before “reaching the goal” fades once reached.
    I say unfortunately because obviously everyone would like to experience emotions so strong forever but as you say no human being or divinity is able but only the art.

  29. Neoclassical artists like Canova usually represent the moment just before the action, neither while it is taking place nor after when it is done.
    But personally I prefer and individual as the maximum moment of happiness not “just about” but the moment in which it happens;
    when you reach what you have desired and you understand that you have done it and not before when you are about to reach it.

  30. The “just about” is considered by many to be the most exciting moment a person can have. Whenever we make an important decision or take a risk we feel that unique feeling which is a mix of curiosity,courage and excitement but also of fear and anxiety. We don’t know what is going to happen after that moment, and that is exactly what makes the “just about” so special. After that moment is gone we face the consequences and we get used to them,good or bad as they might be.The “just about” is a short moment whose power and beauty don’t get affected by time,it will always bring back strong feelings

  31. During the neoclassicism, the artists used to represent the moment immediately before or immediately after the fact, to convey the emotions of characters.
    An example could be represented by Canova that in his works represented the moment before of the act (cupid and psyche) and the moment after the fact (“teseo sul minotauro”).
    Maybe the emotions that we can fell are stronger before, and fade whit time.
    This thought was recover in the poetry.
    In 1819 Keats wrote “ode on a Grecian urn” using the same thought about this theme.
    I personally agree with the thought of neoclassical artists and I think that the “firsts emotions” are the stronger and as I already said they fade with time.

  32. We carry our life pursuing happiness and the intense emotions of a magic moment will remain in our heart forever. In my opinion, the feeling of the “just about” is not that far from the feeling of happiness, since they are both exciting, but the highest emotion is the achievement of happiness.

  33. I feel the most intense moment of happiness and bliss only after I got what I wanted, and I became even happier if I understand that It was worth it. I am aware of the excitement and the emotion that you could feel during the moment just before, in other words, when you are “just about”, but I know for certain that It is not comparable to those seconds of happiness, which take your breath away, whereas they don’t last. I don’t agree with Keat’s thought, I think that the “bold lover” did’t take pleasure in seeing that beautiful and young woman, without having a direct contact with her, without touching her, I think that It was heartbreaking. Anyway It is an exciting and sensitive moment, and art should capture that moment, to keep It alive.

  34. The “just about” is the moment just before the action. In such peculiar timeframe, the concept of the time itself is fully lost, it’s the feeling of a constructive anxiety with plenty of adrenalin which becomes concrete in the next action. The neoclassical artists used to represent “just about” like Canova and David respectively in “Love and Psiche” and “the Oath of the Horatii” . The art is one of the best way to express its deepest concept.

  35. In my opinion happiness is a special and particular emotion which is strictly connected with the “just about” moment, especially while we are doing something important that could change our lives. In this particular moment, infact, you don’t know exactly what is going to happen and if the consequences of your actions will make you happy or not.

  36. Personally I agree with the fact that the moment before happiness can be considered happiness itself because the awareness that we are going to live a happy moment creates in us emotions so strong as to be comparable to happiness itself. However, I do not agree with the duration of these moments of ecstasy. I think it’s not right to think that a moment of happiness must last forever, because if this happens, the happiness that is felt in those rare moments would become pure normality.

  37. I don’t agree with Keats and Canova opinions. For sure the “just about” moment is very exciting and satisfying but it’s not the peak of happiness. For example, I’m pretty sure that Pharrel Williams was happier after releasing his song “Happy” than in the moment before releasing it. Because he could not know if he would succeed before releasing it. In conclusion, in my opinion, the peak of happiness is achieved once you have completed your goals, and not in the moment before completing them.

  38. Whatever we dream,whatever we want and what we struggle ti achieve,it is reduce to a single and short moment.That thing makes is thinking about shortness of life.Indeed our esistence is limited and the only thing that persists in the years is “Art”.Canova described perfectly this “intense istant”in “Cupido and Psyche”.The overflow of passion feelings contains the essence of life itself. Immediatly after all it ends and our task is to feel that feeling again.

  39. In my opinion men must always have a goal to reach and once reached they are must have another one to follow. For this reason we can say that the moment of ”just about” is the true happiness because is a full emotional moment before something happens. The ” just about moment ” is when we are in sintony with ourselves and everything is focused to reach that specific goal. Art is the perfect way to demonstrate this concept because it can catch and make eternal a particular moment.

  40. I believe that the “just about” is the exact moment in which the strongest emotions concentrate. In this moment we imagine what is going to happen. We feel it will be wonderful and exciting because we do not yet know what comes in the reality.
    It would be beautiful to stop this moment and keep enjoying it for a long time. This would be the true beauty of life.
    Unfortunately I never felt such a strong and unforgettable emotion. I am still waiting for my “just about” moment.

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